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First POST: Adverse Reaction

BY Nick Judd | Monday, July 1 2013

Monday's must-read

  • Edward Snowden, the "infrastructure analyst"Monday's New York Times A1 story — "... an infrastructure analyst at the N.S.A., like a burglar casing an apartment building, looks for new ways to break into Internet and telephone traffic around the world ..."

    "... Even as some members of Congress have challenged the N.S.A.’s collection of logs of nearly every phone call Americans make, European officials furiously protested on Sunday after Mr. Snowden’s disclosure that the N.S.A. has bugged European Union offices in Washington and Brussels and, with its British counterpart, has tapped the Continent’s major fiber-optic communications cables ..."

    "... A close reading of Mr. Snowden’s documents shows the extent to which the eavesdropping agency now has two new roles: It is a data cruncher, with an appetite to sweep up, and hold for years, a staggering variety of information. And it is an intelligence force armed with cyberweapons, assigned not just to monitor foreign computers but also, if necessary, to attack."

  • Also important — errors and untruth: In the Washington Post, Greg Miller rounds up the misstatements and errors of fact related to NSA surveillance that have come from intelligence officials. (h/t Glenn Greenwald)

    The Post handles officials' contortions of the truth pretty delicately, even after reporting that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a June 21 letter to Congress that his statements to a committee hearing were "erroneous" and that the NSA has removed from the Internet a factually problematic information sheet about its surveillance programs:

    The careful depiction of NSA programs also served diplomatic ends. Until recently, the United States had positioned itself as such an innocent victim of cyber intrusions by Russia and China that the State Department issued a secret demarche, or official diplomatic communication, in January scolding Beijing. That posture became more problematic after leaks by the former NSA contractor and acknowledged source of the NSA leaks, Edward Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong and is thought to be stuck at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow.

  • What Europe is reading: This Der Spiegel cover story by Laura Poitras, revealing that the NSA monitored European government officials, is testing tempers across the continent.

  • Follow-up: Tom Watson for Forbes.com, arguing that Wikileaks' ancillary involvement in the Snowden affair is a sign of Julian Assange's political motives — "... Assange’s position as the global spokesman for what is (loosely) an Internet-based international political movement in opposition to the United States has never been stronger."

Around the web

  • Wendy Davis — Brian Stelter argues that without YouTube, there would be no Wendy Davis.

  • Riyadh Bureau: "Saudi Regulator Wants to Know if Telecoms are Ready to Block WhatsApp."

  • In Next City, David Sasaki supports a move towards a data-driven and evidence-based approach to solving urban policy problems. (As a disclosure, Sasaki is principal of investments at Omidyar Network, which supports our WeGov section.)

  • Report Watch: "Humanitarianism in the Network Age," by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

  • Reports from the right: VoterTrove, a Republican voter data management platform provider, announces a partnership with data firm Magellan Strategies; Voter Gravity, the platform bought by Tea Party group American Majority Action last year, has launched its version 2.0. Schedules vary from state to state, but broadly speaking, these announcements come as primary season kicks into high gear for off-year elections and candidates begin competing in earnest for the right to represent their party in general elections for state and local races.